This text is a more complete and updated version of the article I wrote for the website Brasileiras pelo Mundo the day after the attack. You can read the first version in Portuguese here.
On August 18, 2017, the first terrorist attack in Finland´s history took place in the city of Turku.
An 18-year-old Moroccan asylum seeker called Abderrahman Mechkah, who arrived in Finland in 2016, ran through the streets of central Turku, stabbing eight people and killing two. The fatal victims were two Finnish women but, among the wounded, there were also Swedish, British, Italian, Iraqi and Syrian people. Besides Mechkah, police arrested 4 other Moroccans under the suspicion of helping planning the attack.
Finnish police acted fast, in just three minutes, even so, lives were lost. The attacker was shot in the leg and was immediately taken to the hospital. At first, the case was treated as murder, because before a more complex investigation there were no concrete indications of a terrorist attack. On the next morning, however, through a bulletin, Finnish police made it official that the incident was a terrorist attack. According to investigator Christa Granroth, the attacker´s initial idea was to sacrifice women; the male victims were people who tried to help the attacked women. Source for this information in Finnish here.
According to the Finnish Intelligence and Security Service (SUPO), the country is seen by the radical Islamic groups as a Western ally in the coalition against ISIL and there is even propaganda aimed at Finland in the Finnish language, encouraging attacks. According to the Intelligence Service, because of the growing upsurge of radicalism, the situation is expected to worsen and there are a large number of ISIL sympathizers in the country who expressed a desire to participate in armed offenses and receive military training in order to join the group.
I am aware that this radical wave that ravages the world does not have only one face. The culprits for it having reached this stage are many, of different nationalities and religions, and understanding this subject requires reading a lot of history books, theses, political and international relations analyzes. I do not close my eyes either to the concrete fact that the biggest victims of the radical Islamic groups are the Muslims themselves, and that the refugee crisis exists because these people are running away from radicalism.
But I can not deny the facts and dangers we´ve been facing. There are countless numbers of undocumented immigrants who can, yes, be extremist infiltrators waiting to take action. There is no way not to be afraid and this is sad.
I am aware that the chaos is generated by the minority and I really want to believe that radicals are the minority but there is no way to close the eyes to the fact that this minority is hidden and disguised as a majority , which is really scary.
And after such event, what we have is a situation of general panic and the terrible thought that every Muslim man is a potential threat. Thinking like this is horrible and sad, but how can we think differently? How to stop this whirlwind of feelings full of reason to exist?
The threat level in which Finland is at the moment is measured by a table that ranges from 1 to 4:
Finland, for the time being, is at level 2 of this table but I don´t know if I agree on this information after researching more.
From 2015 to 2017, it is estimated that about 32 thousand people have entered Finland as asylum seekers. A considerable number of these requirements have already been denied; many applicants also gave up and left the country spontaneously, but it is estimated that a number between 2,000 and 10,000 people are still here, in the condition of undocumented, hidden and living under completely unknown conditions. Isn´t it super scary? I think so… Read more about it here.
On the official website of the Immigration Department you can check the statistics of decisions by case and by nationality. Please note that the numbers do not refer only to asylum applications, but to various visa situations, so look for the specific information you want and not to the general number.
The whole Europe is in a very difficult situation because there´s no way to control this flow of people. At least not without radical measures. In Finland I think the biggest problem is lack of trained people in the immigration service department to go faster with the application analyzes. People are just not trained enough to do what they are doing and there are not enough workers, since immigration had never been a problem before.
I finish this text leaving my condolences to the families of all the victims, hoping that the evil and the madness that plagues the world ends up.